Team Member Spotlight Q&A with Michael Pagliaro
This week we sat down with our Product Engineer Co-op, Michael Pagliaro, to ask him ten questions about himself and his experience at Continual Care Solutions.
1. What is your role at Continual Care Solutions?
I am a Product Engineer Co-op at Continual Care. I help to write the software that goes into imPowr, while still being somewhat "in training" since I'm still a student at RIT. Despite that, I've been able to work on many different things since I started here and am given freedom in how I approach new problems, which is nice while still being a student!
2. Why did you decide to join the Continual Care Solutions team?
I found a posting for this job while searching for my last university-required co-op last fall, and I was interested by the startup atmosphere. I remember getting a response not too long after I applied, allegedly because I was one of the only applicants who had familiarity with .NET (on their resume at least). After getting to speak with Stephanie and Mike and learning about the kind of work I'd be doing, I knew this would be a worthwhile experience and a brand new experience compared to my previous position, so I was welcoming to the diversity. Originally, I was planning to get my last co-op during the summer of 2020, but as the pandemic really kicked in right while I was interviewing, I lost out on all the positions where I had my foot in the door. Looking back, there's a silver lining to everything, since if that didn't happen I wouldn't be here!
3. What is your favorite thing to work on as part of your job?
I really just enjoy the variety when it comes to this job. It feels like every week something new comes up and I get to face a completely different challenge. With the application growing so fast and getting so large, it encompasses so many unique areas of functionality, so in one area I can be writing API controllers, and in another I can be building calendars.
4. What makes Continual Care Solutions special?
I believe the small size and interconnectivity of the workplace makes the company special. It feels like everybody understands the skill set of everybody else, and everyone is able to coordinate into the right groups for the task when trying to work on something new. It really feels like everyone is able to get a lot done in a short period of time!
5. Before working at Continual Care Solutions, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
My strangest job experience was definitely my first part-time job. It turned out to be not what I expected at all and wasn't a great first impression going forward. Back in the summer of 2015 I landed a part-time job as a ride assistant at Dorney Park, a large amusement park near where I lived. I was told I'd be operating rides, just like my close friend was doing who also worked there. But on the first day I got there, my manager told me I'd be working in the water park instead and told me to go to one of the staff buildings there. Me being a teenager who just wanted some extra money, I blindly agreed. But once I got there, I realized I'd just signed up to basically be a janitor, and the next month of me working there made me completely miserable. As I'm sure you can imagine, work conditions are really poor and guests at the park don't exactly treat you the best, so it was quite the shock for a young me on his first job. I ended up quitting only a month later under the excuse of the school year starting again. Thankfully, once I saw what work was like in my actual field, it turned my negative perceptions around!
6. What knowledge, skills, or insights have you gained since starting work at Continual Care Solutions?
Working here for the past few months has already given me plenty of growth both as a software developer and as a person. With being able to work on so many different areas in the application, I've gained a lot more experience with front-end development and UI design. I've also been able to work with RESTful APIs and have a greater understanding of those. Working here has also helped me to work on my people skills, which isn't easy but is a very important factor to being able to make it far in my future career. Especially considering the company is small, it is nice to be able to know everyone!
7. What is on your bucket list?
I've always thought about how I want to travel to Italy someday. I've always been told stories of how my ancestors are from Sicily, and how the first one from my family ended up becoming a rich and successful construction foreman in Philadelphia back in the 1900s. I always looked up to them, so I really want to see what that country is actually like, especially since I've never been across the ocean before. Aside from seeing places around the world, once I graduate I hope to save enough money to build my own desktop PC. I've been working off of laptops ever since I got my own computer, so having a much more powerful setup would be nice!
8. Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?
My favorite trip is a recent one, where me and three of my closest friends went on a week-long cruise to the Bahamas in January of 2020. In hindsight, we really went at the perfect time, only a week later and it may have been cancelled. But we had been planning that trip since nearly a year prior, and I can look back on pretty much every memory from that trip fondly. It definitely gave me that feeling of "anything is possible", plus getting to laugh and have a great time with people I've known for years made the whole experience worth it.
9. Where is your favorite place to eat?
Tied for first place on my list is pretty much any Italian place in existence. I've loved all kinds of Italian food, especially pasta, ever since I was a kid. It's gotten to the point now where just about every week I'll cook some kind of pasta for myself (which probably isn't great for my health!).
10. What is one of your favorite quotes?
It can't be attributed to any one person, as I can't count the number of places I've heard it at this point. But it's the basic idea of "make the future your own". Essentially it's the idea of not bogging yourself down with what could've been, and instead just moving forward. I felt the effects of this back when the pandemic started, when it felt like I lost the future I was working towards when all my potential jobs fell through and my graduation got pushed back because of it. But I just kept moving forward despite that, and now I'm moving towards a new future that's just as good, if not better than the other one. I really have no way of knowing what life would've been like if the pandemic didn't barge through all of our lives, so it seems like a waste of time to imagine what would've been.